Lots of garden stuff to record. I’m going to try to be quick and type fast, for I have much to do and only limited baby sleeping time in which to do it.
I started one flat of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and tomatillos on 3/22/10, using the same methods I used last year. It’s a large recycled aluminum casserole dish, meant for single use, that I used last year and saved for this year. I filled it with a potting mix taken from Square Foot Gardening (1/3 compost, 1/3 sphagnum peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite), pre-moistened. I used wet single ply toilet paper to sandwich around the seeds, keeping the seeds moist. I planted the seeds 1″ apart, and will either re-pot before the roots get tangled or thin to 2″ spacings and then pot up. I covered the whole flat with a garbage bag to contain moisture. (Every time you water, you lower the seed temp, which affects germination.) I then placed the tray on a heat mat made for seed flats, as these plants need to be 70-80 degrees for optimal germination. The tomatoes, eggplants, and tomatillos were all starting to come up on 3/26, and the peppers finally made a good showing yesterday (3/29). I have nearly 100% germination, I believe. As soon as I saw sprouts, I cut the bag open and put the lights up over the flat.
In the interest of time and experimentation, I bought one of those ubiquitous Jiffy flats with 72 cells for starting seeds. It comes with a clear plastic cover to aid in germination. You can buy these everywhere, like home improvement and garden stores. Not ideal, but it sounded faster and easier this year (apparently I had a new baby two-ish months ago, and apparently that means I’m quite busy), so I thought I’d try. On 3/27/10, I started more tomatoes and peppers, as well as basil, cumin, and cutting celery, all in the Jiffy tray. I put the whole rig in the oven with the pilot light on and door cracked open 1-2″, which according to my thermometer, makes it around 75 – 80 degrees (depending on where I put the thermometer probe).The basil and tomatoes are starting to pop up today (3/30), so we’ve got good germination. I removed the Jiffy tray from the oven and put it under the lights next to the recycled aluminum flat. I planted 2-3 seeds in each cell, so I will thin to the strongest plant once the first set of true leaves appears. We’ll see how the plants do in the different seed starting mediums (the Jiffy things are peat moss, I believe). Before too long (within a week, max) I will have lots of things to pot up. I actually hate that part.
I want to record how many plants of each variety I started, but I will have to come back and edit this post later and add that info in. No time now.
Peas and garbanzo beans: planted yesterday evening (3/29/10). The garbanzo beans are a black variety that are designed to be started in cool spring weather (Black Kabouli). I also planted Sugar Snap, Blizzard Snow, Sugar Ann, Mayfair Shell, and Cascadia Snap. I first soaked them on 3/26. They are supposed to be soaked for no longer than 6-8 hours, but I accidentally let them soak overnight, so closer to 16 hours. But they survived. I rinsed and drained them 2-3 times a day, and finally planted them. The roots were far too long; it’s ideal to plant chitted peas when the roots are shorter than the length of the pea itself. But we just weren’t in a position to do it until last night. We amended the soil composted horse manure (thanks to the neighbors) and tilled it in, then planted. We did six rows of peas, mostly because peas leave the soil in marvelous condition, so we can yank the plants at any time if we need to plant something else (even if we don’t get a harvest from every single plant). Peas like something to climb, even bush varieties, so we’ll provide some sort of support for all the plants.
I think that’s it for now.
Wait, I wanted to say how good the garlic is looking. It’s been up for weeks, but I don’t know when I first saw sprouts, so I can’t record that particular bit of info. They’re 4-5″ tall now and doing well. Jason amended the bed with horse manure a day or two ago.
I need to get onions started, stat. It’s late, but I think they’ll do okay. I want start onions, leeks, broccoli, and cabbage in the cold frame this week. The weather is gorgeous and will be all week, so I just need to find the time. I’ve decided that gardening with an infant is infinitely more difficult than gardening while pregnant. I can’t just pop outside and garden whenever I want, especially when it’s windy and unsuitable for a little one. Plus, he’s not old enough to be patient and understand when I want to plant “just one more row,” whereas I could do that with a toddler and older children (last year). Also, he isn’t old enough to play or enjoy himself outside. Two months is an age for being held and interacted with. I am trying to loosen my expectations for the garden this year, but it isn’t easy for me. It’s only my second year, but I have so many ideas.